New snack vending machines have appeared on campus this year, sporting a new look and stocking healthier food, though they do not accept Brown Cards.
The changes are the result of a decision by Dining Services to change the company that provides Brown's snack vending machine services. "It was time to reevaluate the vending program, and we felt going into that that it needed a fresh look," wrote Ann Hoffman, director of administration for Dining Services, in an e-mail to The Herald. "So we undertook a thorough evaluation of vending options that were now available, as well (as) vending companies and what they had to offer."
Dining Services selected Next Generation Vending and Food Service, in part due to the company's Vitalities program, which offers healthier food options, Hoffman wrote.
"The Vitalities program focuses on branded items that have lower fat, lower sugars, lower carbs or higher energy," according to Next Generation's website. A sticker next to an item's price indicates which of these categories it belongs to.
In addition to the healthier options, which include veggie chips, peanuts, cereal and granola bars, the machines still have traditional snack items such as potato and corn chips, candy bars, chocolate candy, Pop Tarts, cookies and gum. These snacks are not part of the Vitalities program.
Students seemed supportive of the move towards healthier food, but noted that the machines do not accept the vending stripe on Brown Cards for payment.
"They have more variety now, more things that people buy," Michelle Jimenez '12 said. "Last year, I think they had things that people didn't really buy that much." But she added that she wishes Brown Cards could be used for payment.
"I think they're trying to promote healthier food," Meghan Koushik '13 said, noting fewer items such as candy bars and an increase in other items such as pretzels.
"I've noticed that you can't use your strip on your card anymore … which is kind of annoying," Xavier Sawada '13 said.
In addition to the Vitalities program, Hoffman added that there were several other reasons Dining Services chose to switch to Next Generation.
"They had the ability to place many more machines on campus and offer even more growth potential down the road," Hoffman wrote. "Additionally, though we haven't fully explored them yet, Next Generation offers advanced technologies in terms of machine and reporting capabilities, tenders accepted (and) increased assurances of successful vends."
Snack machines can be found at about 30 locations across campus, including "residential, academic, administrative and athletic facilities," Hoffman wrote.
Hoffman declined to name the company that previously operated Brown's snack machines, writing, "They are a great company and they offered us quality, reliable service over the years."